すいません vs. すみません: Which Is Better for You?
What is the difference between “すいません and すみません”? They have subtle differences. Even though the meaning of them are the same, they have subtle differences. After reading this, you would be answering this question. Let me introduce what their subtle differences are and how you correctly use them such as native speakers today!
すいません (suimasen) / すみません (sumimasen)
Sorry, I’m sorry / 抱歉, 对不起 / 미안합니다, 죄송합니다 / Xin lỗi, Xin thứ lỗi
“すいません and すみません” ordinarily means “Sorry and I’m sorry “, however, they have some meanings such as “Thank you, Excuse me and Sorry”. For instance, the meaning of “Thank you”: after you got a present from someone, you could say “すいません/すみません、ありがとうございます。”. This is one of the Japanese cultures. However, this “すいません/すみません” does not mean “Sorry”. And the meaning of “Excuse me”: when you want to politely get someone’s attention, especially when you are about to ask them a question, you could say “すいません/すみません”. And finally, the meaning of “Sorry”: as a way of apologizing to someone for something that you have done which has upset them or caused them difficulties, or when you bump into them accidentally.
The difference between “すいません and すみません” is that: “すみません” is an official word in Japanese, however “すいません” is easy to say, so most Japanse use “すいません” in daily conversation as the casual meaning of “Thank you and Excuse me”. However, if you apologize to someone who is your boss or elderly people as the meaning of “sorry”, you might want to use “すみません” instead of “すいません”. That’s what the difference between them. Lastly, when you use “すいません / すみません” as the meaning of “Thank you”, it is pretty formal. Basically, it is used for your boss, elderly people or people who you don’t know well.